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John Gorham (bef. 1621 - 1676)

Captain John Gorham
Born before in Benefield, Northamptonshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 6 Nov 1644 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Swansea, Bristol, Plymouth Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Jun 2010
This page has been accessed 6,297 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
John Gorham migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm



Roll of Honor
Captain John Gorham was KIA during King Philip's War.
John was raised in the Puritan faith. He was a leather tanner by trade and was a constable in Marshfield, Massachusetts in 1648, freeman in 1650 and in 1651 was a member of the Grand Inquest of the Colony.
In 1651, he moved to Yarmouth, Massachusetts and purchased part of the Hallett farm (100 acres which part of it was in Barnstable) and operated a grist mill and leather tannery. He was a Deputy to Plymouth Colony Court in 1653.
In 1675, he was made a Captain of the militia from Yarmouth in the war with King Phillip and he led troops in the battle of December 19, 1675 defeating the Indians.
He was a resident of Yarmouth, Massachusetts at the time of his death, but he died 5 Feb 1675/1676 in Swansea (from the flu) and was buried on the land in Swansea that he owned but never occupied, which was granted to him in 1669.
Genealogical Dictionary states under Gorham, Gorum or Goram:
John, Plymouth, s. of Ralph, b. in Eng. bapt. at Benefield, Northamptonshire 28 Jan. 1621,[1] m. 1643, Desire, eldest d. of John Howland, the Pilgrim of the Mayflower, had Desire, b. 2 Apr. 1644; rem. to Marshfield, where he had been, perhaps,, bef had there Temperance, 5 May 1646; Eliz. 2 Apr. 1648; James, 2 or 28 Apr. 1650; and John, 20 Feb. 1652; rem. to Yarmouth, there had Aug. 1656; Mary, 29 Jan. 1659; Lydia, 11 Nov. 1661; Hannah, 28 Nov. 1663; and Shubael, 21 Oct. 1667; was capt. in Philip's war, d. on serv. of fever 5 Feb. 1676 at Swanzey. His d. Desire m. 7 Oct. 1661, John Hawes; s. Jabez was wound. in Philip's War; the wid. d. 13 Oct. 1683; d. Mary m. sec. George Denison, and Lydia m. 11 Jan. 1684, John Thacher.[2]
Genealogical Register states:
John, son of Ralph, m. 1643, Desire, d. of John Howland, and had Desire, 1644, m. John Hawes; Temperance, 1646; Elizabeth, 1648; James, 1650, m. Hannah, d. of Thomas Huckins; John, 1652, m. Mary, d. of John Otis; Joseph, 1654; Jabez, 1656; Mary, 1659, m. George Denison; Lydia, 1661, m. John Thacher; Hannah, 1663; and Shubael, 1667, m. Priscilla Hussey. Desire was born in Plymouth; Temperance, Elizabeth, James, and John were born in Marshfield; Joseph was born in Yarmouth; and Jabez, May, Lydia, Hannah, and Shubael were born in Barnstable.[3]
John Gorham and wife Desire moved from Plymouth to Marshfield in 1646, “where John was chosen constable in 1648. From there they moved to Yarmouth, adjoining Barnstable, in 1652.


BEF OCT 1637 Plymouth Colony, (later Massachusetts, USA)

Research notes

The only mention of John Gorham in the The Great Migration Directory :Gorham, Ralph: Unknown; 1637; Plymouth; not seen after 1642 [ PCR 1:66, 118, 128, 2:37-38, 7:8, 17, 19]. (No evidence connects Ralph Gorham with the John Gorham who married Desire Howland [MD 5:174-75]. The first New England record for John Gorham is in 1643 [ PCR 8:188].)


  1. St. Mary the Virgin (Benefield, England), "Christenings," 30P/1, 619, item 25, John Gorham christening record (1619); Northamptonshire Record Office, Northampton, England; record has 28 January 1619/20
  2. Savage
  3. NEHGR

See also:

  • Page 107: See footnote, "died in the service of his country while commanding a company stationed in Swansea (Feb. 5, 1676)."
  • PCR 8:188 Miscellaneous Records, 1633-1689, Page 188.

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Comments: 13

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I have recently created a Gorham surname DNA project at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). Would it be out of line to add a link to this project within the profile?


posted by Raymond Wing
Raymond, in essence by placing it here as a comment, you've done just that. Also, under Research Notes, you could add a link, and you might want to add a g2g post with "Gorham" and "DNA" as tags.
posted by Jillaine Smith
I added a link to The Mayflower Descendant at the bottom of the source list.
posted by Rick Pierpont
Mayflower Descendant vol 5 [Jan 1903] pp. 172-180 has an article about a "Wast Book" written by a great-grandson Col. John Gorham (1709-1752). Col. John wrote a history of the Gorham family with help from a grandson of Capt. John Gorum, "Capt." Benjamin Gorham (1726-1793).

This record stated the father of Capt. John Gorham was also named John Gorham and Col. John Gorham also wrote somewhere else where the Gorham family was from "Huntingtonshear" England.

Should this conflicting information (and source) be added to John' Biography?

posted by Raymond Wing
The Great Migration Directory says " (No evidence connects Ralph Gorham with the John Gorham who married Desire Howland [MD 5:174-75]. The first New England record for John Gorham is in 1643 [PCR 8:188.)

The MD article seems to be stronger evidence than anything connecting John Gorham as a son of Ralph. I'm wondering if the parents should be disconnected and the birth date removed?

posted by M Cole
We need a source for the flu claim. The killed in action is sourced : Peirce, Ebenezer Weaver. Peirce's Colonial Lists (A. Williams & Co., Boston, 1881)

Page 107: See footnote, "died in the service of his country while commanding a company stationed in Swansea (Feb. 5, 1676)."

posted by Jillaine Smith
If he died of the flu as is stated in the biography, then why is there a KIA sticker saying he died in action in the war?
posted by J Briller
Gorham-310 and Gorham-17 appear to represent the same person because: Just trying to get ride of the blank Gorham-310 profile.
posted by Dale Gorham Jr
Gorham-1065 and Gorham-17 appear to represent the same person because: Same parents, dates and son
Just want to note for the project there seems to be a duplicate for John - see Gorham-1050
posted by Laurie Giffin
Gorham-17 and Gorham-310 are not ready to be merged because: Better, perhaps, to simply eliminate the empty profile?
posted by David Brown
Gorham-17 and Gorham-310 appear to represent the same person because: Merge away empty profile same name
posted by Eddie King
Hi Dale,

I was wondering if you had anymore information on this John Gorham. I am trying to either rule him out as a match or merge with a John in my tree (the unmerged match below). Thanks!

posted by Abby (Brown) Glann